What went wrong for England?
The inquest has well and truely started into England’s embarrassing capitulation against Germany yesterday. All day I’ve heard that Capello is to blame, or it’s the players fault, and even the FA have been blamed in some quarters.
Personally I think they all have a collective responsibility. The disallowed goal didn’t help, but I’m not going to let that paper over the cracks of what was one of the most awful performances from probably the most shambolic team (mainly the defence) I have seen in years, if not ever.
The manner of the goals conceded was a joke. Centre-backs pulled out of position like school boys, no midfield cover from the out of sorts Gareth Barry, it was unbelievable.
The Germans seen us coming, I’ve said it before on this blog that I believed Capello would have to change his tactics when he got to the latter stages of the world cup. It’s ok playing 4-4-2 against the teams we came up against in the qualifying round, and even the first stage of the world cup (not that you would have noticed), but you can’t afford to surrender the midfield to teams like Germany, Spain, Argentina and Brazil like England did yesterday.
Just about every person I’ve heard speaking about it, former players, managers etc, all said that Capello would need an extra man in midfield to get anywhere in this competition. Capello refused, whether out of stubborness I don’t know, but Joachim Loew certainly seen England coming and new exactly what to do to counter our system.
Capello had his warnings, Algeria out passed us just over a week ago.
Capello’s excuse that the players were tired, both mentally and physically was a disgrace, to say that was laughable. If anything they went into the tournament with no form to speak off, but I’m not buying the tiredness excuse.
And in the case of Adam Johnson, in form, but left behind by someone who apparently knew better. Also left behind was Theo Walcott, I can understand why, but I said at the time I’d have taken both.
So what of the suspects who played their part in England’s dismal showing.
Fabio Capello – Picked a denfensive looking squad. Went back on his word not to pick injured players, or players not playing for their first teams. Apparently refused to listen to his players misgivings and imposed an iron fist regime over them.
I got the impression he created a bad atmosphere in the camp. His decision to not name the team until just before getting on the bus didn’t go down well with the players either.
He also seemed too rigid with his 4-4-2 formation, and failed to make game changing substitutions, instead choosing like-for-like replacements. Got his team selection right against Slovenia, but on the whole he got too many big decisions wrong at the world cup.
Including his reluctance to use Joe Cole and Peter Crouch. The decision to bring Shaun Wright-Phillips on against USA down the left flank was strange, as was the choice of Emile Heskey ahead of Crouch on Sunday when England badly needed goals.
Also made some wrong calls before the start of competition, including his Capello Index. Failed to solve England’s left sided problem, and the Gerrard-Lampard conundrum over the last two years.
And he seemed to go into the world cup not even knowing what his best side was, it was hard to work out what he was doing in the two friendlies just before he named his final squad.
The FA – Who the hell had the brainwave to give Capello the extra two years on his contract before the world cup? If they do want him out it will now cost them upwards of £12 Million, so we are now in the situation where Capello could be kept on so the FA don’t have to look stupid by paying him off.
Did they learn nothing from the experiences with Sven Goran Eriksson?
The Players – From as far back as March the only England player showing any decent form was Wayne Rooney, while Frank Lampard had his usual consistent season with Chelsea.
The inexperienced James Milner and Joe Hart also had good seasons, but apart from those few, most were either injured or out of form.
Emile Heskey, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Theo Walcott and Peter Crouch couldn’t get in their own club sides. Aaron Lennon, Joe Cole and Ashley Cole were either injured or coming back from injury. Rio Ferdinand hardly kicked a ball for Man United. Steven Gerrard was in awful form for Liverpool, while Glenn Johnson spent parts of the season injured and didn’t really find any rhythm.
In the midfield Gareth Barry wasn’t great for Man City prior to his injury. While Michael Carrick’s form took a dive, as was highlighted with a high profile blunder against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
The goals had started to dry up for Jermaine Defoe as he couldn’t play Wigan every week, and Michael Owen was injured.
John Terry’s form was also very patchy while stories about his private life circulated, resulting in Wayne Bridge withdrawing from the squad. Matt Upson and Rob Green both struggled at West Ham, and David James was in and out of the Portsmouth team due to injuries.
All this has obviously not helped Fabio Capello’s cause, but it is no real excuse for why England flopped so badly. One reason for the mess could be the players didn’t have much confidence in Fabio. I got the impression from watching the John Terry press conference that maybe he had lost the dressing room, which is always the last failing of a manager before he gets the boot.
It will be interesting to see if any stories leak out from the players over the next few days. It’s unlikely that anybody will publicy speak out against Capello, but there is a chance that maybe a player coming to the end of the line with England, like David James, could break rank and spill the beans.